Organized South African Tour...

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May 31st, 2003, 02:50 PM
  #1
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Organized South African Tour...

Found this one right on Fodors website:

http://www.fodors.iexplore.com/trip/tour_int.jhtml;$sessionid$TFX1TSIAAQ5GYP2MN5XCFEQ? tripD=feature_trip&tourID=16878

I am not an expert by any means but this looks like a ripoff to me. $8,000 for this trip for two people???

This trip, for $3,999 pp, in short, is:

4 nts at an unspecified 4* Cape Town hotel
1 night in Knysna at unspecified hotel/lodge
2 nights at Ngala
Daily tours.
INTERNATIONAL AIR EXCLUDED

Likely, the 4 nights at the Cape Town hotel should not be worth more than $600 USD for a place like the Commodore Waterfront.

The four daily tours in Cape Town should not be worth more than $600 Total.

The one way flight to George (Knysna) should not be worth more than $300 USD Total.

The one night in Knysna should not be worth more than $150 USD Total.

The flight from George to Hoedspruit should not be worth more than $300 USD Total.

The two nights at Ngala, including airport transfers, should not be worth more than $1,500 USD total in the low season.

The flight back to Joburg from Hoedspruit should be about $300 Total.

Throw in a few more airport transfers and value them at $249 USD total and that gets the GRAND TOTAL that anybody could put this trip together for on their own for $3,999.00, or half the price what the price is for this package!

If you want 5* hotels, it only gets worse and goes up to $5,399 low season. The only difference I see is that the hotel room in Cape Town just went up $100 per night ($400 total), also throw in an extra $100 for the night in Knysna, and throw in about $500 extra for Mala Mala instead of Ngala. So, while it would cost each person an extra $500 ($125 per night) to upgrade to a 5* package, the tour company has the audacity to ask for an additional $1,400 per person.

Throw in the international air and you are looking at least an additional $3,000 from Los Angeles and an additional $2,250 from the East Coast.

The 7 night package at a 4* that I listed above is MORE than I am paying for my 15 night package!

Perhaps I am in the wrong business. Does anybody really pay full price for these packages???

My package...(forgive me I am just trying to burn time until my flight leaves in four days):

LAX-Atlanta-Johannesburg
2 nights in a Premier Suite - Michelangelo Hotel, Johannesburg (5*). Includes breakfasts, one dinner, airport transfers, complimentary pay per view movies & internet. Soweto Half Day Tour. $750 USD Total.

Johannesburg-Lusaka-Mfuwe

5 nights Kafunta River Lodge/Kafunta Island Bush Lodge. Supposedly these are the nicest accomodations in the South Luangwa despite being priced much lower than Robin Pope Safaris and The Bushcamp Company. All inclusive (transfers, meals, alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks and game activities) $2,000 USD Total.

Mfuwe-Lusaka-Joburg-Cape Town

4 Nights at The Twelve Apostles Hotel. Breakfast daily. One high tea. One dinner. Free shuttle to Camps Bay & Waterfront. Luxury Sea Facing Room. Airport Transfers. $600 USD.

1 Night at The Lanzerac Manor, Cape Winelands. Full Day Cape Winelands Tour and transfers. $350 USD.

Cape Town - Hoedspruit.

3 Nights at Djuma Vuyatela. Transfers to/from Hoedspruit. All inclusive like Kafunta listed above. $1,750 USD.

Cape Town-Joburg-Atlanta-LAX

Throw in an extra $300 for extra tours and my ground package cost the total ground package is $5,750 for 15 nights at some pretty great looking places. Believe it or not, my total air including all international and domestic flights for the entire trip was only about $4,500, making my trip about $10,250, less than the 4* package that I listed at the top of the thread would go for!!!

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Jun 2nd, 2003, 01:20 PM
  #2
sandi
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Roccco - Did I read correctly you're paying $3,000 Air from LAX and estimate from East Coast would be $2,250 - WOW.

I know you've already paid for your trip and I don't want you to feel bad (or hate me) but I got quotes just the other day for $1,190+tax for June July & August travel JFK/JNB/CPT/JNB.

And I know the prices for the time we like to travel are only $1075+tax JFK-JNB/CPT-JFK, (sometimes as low as only $1,000+tax) via SAA, and you can accrue miles in Delta's FF program.

The fare r/t between JNB-HDS-NLP-JNB is only about $250.

I wondered what SAA was thinking when they raised their fares for this year to ridiculously high numbers, but there were lower prices available thru consolidators.

But from the site you list - "iexplore.com" - indicates this is a Natl Geo tour and their prices are not cheap.

Most who post on this site have checked alternatives or bid (as you did w/LuxuryLink), but you'd be surprised at just how many people don't check and don't care and have no problem spending lots of money.

Though our trip was in '01 and even with two days at Singita which alone was $1,300 ea., and with the Grace in CPT, Kingdom in VFA (the Vic Falls Hotel way to stuffy for us, besides it was only 1-nt and Kingdom was the busiest place in town), and 2-nts Chobe Chilwero, 1-nt (Hyatt-Rosebank) JNB (we were meeting friends in Sandton) - plus all our tours, most meals except for five), transfers etc. cost for each $4,500 land and air was $1,500 JFK/JNB/CPT/JNB and JNB/VFA/JNB and JNB/HDS/NLP/JNB.

Hey, you've made your plans based on your own research and prices that were acceptable for you - and that's all that matters - and you're going to have a great time and we'll be here waiting to hear about "the trip". Have a great time.
 
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Jun 2nd, 2003, 01:35 PM
  #3
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Sandi,

I am paying about $2250 pp for ALL my air:

1. LAX-Johannesburg
2. Johannesburg - Lusaka - Mfuwe
3. Mfuwe - Lusaka - Johannesburg - Cape Town
4. Cape Town - Hoedspruit
5. Hoedspruit - Johannesburg - LAX

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Jun 3rd, 2003, 04:42 AM
  #4
sandi
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Roccco - The air you listed in last paragraph was $4,500 including Intnl and Inter&intra-country air, and above $3,000 from LAX to JNB - and in the above post it's $2,250 - confusing.

But if the actual fare is $2,250 for all air - then that's pretty OK.
 
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 05:21 AM
  #5
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Sandi,

In my mind, international air not only includes LAX-JNB but also includes JNB-Lusaka.

In the end, I paid only $2,250 per person for all my air, a very discounted fare. Had I attempted to book each flight separately I would have paid about the following:

LAX - JNB = $1,500 R/T
JNB - Lusaka = $300 R/T
Lusaka - Mfuwe = $300 R/T
JNB - CPT = $250 R/T
JNB - Hoedspruit = $250

TOTAL = $2,600.

Even if I only saved $350 pp, that is still $700 and still pays for 1 night at Vuyatela plus 1 night at The Lanzerac Manor.
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